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Global Perspectives on Biography in Public Cultures and Societies
Internationally acclaimed biographies are almost always written by British or American biographers. But what is the state of the art of biography in other parts of the world? Introduced by Richard Holmes, the volume Different Lives offers a global perspective: seventeen scholars vividly describe the biographical tradition in their countries of interest. They show how biography functions as a public genre, featuring specific societal issues and opinion-making. Indeed, the volume aims to answer the question: how can biography contribute to a better understanding of differences between societies and cultures? Special attention is given to the US, China and the Netherlands. Other contributions are on Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Iceland, Iran, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and South Africa.

‘This book represents a much needed breakdown of the history and current status of Biography Studies throughout the world. Any educator teaching a course in higher education that includes Biography Studies should definitely consider this as a major text for inclusion.’
Billy Tooma, filmmaker and Assistant Professor, Wessex County College

‘The rise of biography is the literary event of our time; Hamilton and Renders are its pioneer scholars, and their compelling primer is a mustread.’
Joanny Moulin (Institut Universitaire de France) on Nigel Hamilton and Hans Renders, The ABC of Modern Biography (2018)
Rupture and Continuity in Modern Chinese Detective Fiction (1896–1949)
In Detecting Chinese Modernities: Rupture and Continuity in Modern Chinese Detective Fiction (1896–1949), Yan Wei historicizes the two stages in the development of Chinese detective fiction and discusses the rupture and continuity in the cultural transactions, mediation, and appropriation that occurred when the genre of detective fiction traveled to China during the first half of the twentieth century. Wei identifies two divergent, or even opposite strategies for appropriating Western detective fiction during the late Qing and the Republican periods. She further argues that these two periods in the domestication of detective fiction were also connected by shared emotions. Both periods expressed ambivalent and sometimes contradictory views regarding Chinese tradition and Western modernity.
Hua Yan (1682-1756) and the Making of the Artist in Early Modern China explores the relationships between the artist, local society, and artistic practice during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Arranged as an investigation of the artist Hua Yan’s work at a pivotal moment in eighteenth-century society, this book considers his paintings and poetry in early eighteenth-century Hangzhou, mid-eighteenth-century Yangzhou, and finally their nineteenth-century afterlife in Shanghai. By investigating Hua Yan’s struggle as a marginalized artist—both at his time and in the canon of Chinese art—this study draws attention to the implications of seeing and being seen as an artist in early modern China.
The essays collected in Fate and Prognostication in the Chinese Literary Imagination deal with the philosophical, psychological, gender and cultural issues in the Chinese conception of fate as represented in literary texts and films, with a focus placed on human efforts to solve the riddles of fate prediction. Viewed in this light, the collected essays unfold a meandering landscape of the popular imaginary in Chinese beliefs and customs.
The chapters in this book represent concerted efforts in research originated from a project conducted at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.

Contributors are Michael Lackner, Kwok-kan Tam, Monika Gaenssbauer, Terry Siu-han Yip, Xie Qun, Roland Altenburger, Jessica Tsui-yan Li, Kaby Wing-Sze Kung, Nicoletta Pesaro, Yan Xu-Lackner, and Anna Wing Bo Tso.
Chinese Visions of Progress, 1895 to 1949 offers a panoramic view of reflections on progress in modern China. Since the turn of the twentieth century, the discourses on progress shape Chinese understandings of modernity and its pitfalls. As this in-depth study shows, these discourses play a pivotal role in the fields of politics, society, culture, as well as philosophy, history, and literature. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the Chinese ideas of progress, their often highly optimistic implications, but also the criticism of modernity they offered, opened the gateway for reflections on China’s past, its position in the present world, and its future course.
The Movement and its Centennial Legacy
Remembering May Fourth: The Movement and its Centennial Legacy is a collective work of thirteen scholars who reflect on the question of how to remember the May Fourth Movement, one of the most iconic socio-political events in the history of modern China. The book discusses a wide range of issues concerning the relations between politics and memory, between writing and ritualizing, between fiction and reality, and between theory and practice. Remembering May Fourth thus calls into question the ways in which the movement is remembered, while at the same time calling for the need to create new memories of the movement.
Cultural Encounters between the Chinese, the Dutch, and Other Europeans, 1590-1800
What was the cultural impact of early meetings between Chinese and Europeans? This book explores visual, literary, and scholarly representations of the Celestial Empire and Western countries against the backdrop of actual encounters. Based on rare Chinese and, correspondingly, European (especially Dutch) sources and archival documents, the volume covers a range of cultural expressions from the applied arts to philosophy. Special attention goes to the ideals and realities of trade and diplomacy of the Dutch East India Company in China. Foreign Devils and Philosophers approaches global history from a cultural perspective and illuminates the reciprocal dynamic of aversion and admiration: Chinese and Westerners could appear as sages or savages in each other’s eyes.
An Insistence on Truth
In Fou Lei: An Insistence on Truth, Mingyuan Hu thinks through the life and work of one of modern China’s most significant public intellectuals, investigating his Shanghai-Paris trajectory and his resistance against cultural barbarism. Using hitherto undiscovered archival documents, Hu presents the first study of Fou Lei’s youth, particularly his formative years in Europe (1928–1931), and analyses the critic-translator’s identity vis-à-vis intercultural friendships and political predicaments. Bringing together previously untranslated material in French and Chinese, Fou Lei paints a man in dark times searching for illumination through words, and invites the reader to reconsider questions, unresolved and unspoken, about his tragic end.
Strategy, Revolution, and the First European Translation of Sunzi’s Art of War (1772)
The Mandate of Heaven examines the first European version of Sunzi’s Art of War, which was translated from Chinese by Joseph Amiot, a French missionary in Beijing, and published in Paris in 1772. His work is presented in English for the first time. Amiot undertook this project following the suppression of the Society of Jesus in France with the aim of demonstrating the value of the China mission to the French government. He addressed his work to Henri Bertin, minister of state, beginning a thirty-year correspondence between the two men. Amiot framed his translation in order to promote a radical agenda using the Chinese doctrine of the “mandate of heaven.” This was picked up within the sinophile and radical circle of the physiocrats, who promoted China as a model for revolution in Europe. The work also arrived just as the concept of strategy was emerging in France. Thus Amiot’s Sunzi can be placed among seminal developments in European political and strategic thought on the eve of the revolutionary era.
This volume of fourteen essays explores Chinese poetic modernism in all its facets, from its origins in the 1920s through 21st century manifestations. Modernisms in the plural reflects the complexity of the ideas and forms which can be associated with this literary-historical term. The volume’s contributors take a variety of focus points, from literary groups such as “9 Leaves” or “Bamboo Hat,” to individuals such as modernist sonneteer Feng Zhi 冯至, or Taiwan experimentalist Xia Yu 夏宇 (Hsia Yü), and Hong Kong modernist Leung Ping-kwan 梁秉钧, to non-biographically oriented chapters concerning modernist language, poetry and visual art, among other issues. Collectively, the volume endeavors to present as complete a picture of modernist practice in Chinese poetry as possible.